Webopedia says, “A human language. For example, English, French, and Chinese are natural languages. Computer languages, such as FORTRAN and C, are not.
Probably the single most challenging problem in computer science is to develop computers that can understand natural languages. So far, the complete solution to this problem has proved elusive, although a great deal of progress has been made. Fourth-generation languages are the programming languages closest to natural languages.”
To further borrow from Webopedia, it lists the following, generally agreed definitions:
first generation: machine language
second generation: assembly language
third generation: high-level programming languages, such as C, C++, and Java.
fifth generation: languages used for artificial intelligence and neural networks.
Fourth Generation, or 4GL, are the programming languages closer to human language.
But is it so elusive? Stephen Wolfram, in 2010, wrote an article “Programming with Natural Language is Actually Going to Work” about Mathematica. In it he stated, “…there are reasons to hope that it might be possible to use natural language input to do programming.” In 2014 SageTea Software produced Text to Software as a stand-alone natural language program.
SageTea Software uses natural language commands to create programming. For example, if you take the written description of how to bake bread and load it into our software, Text to Software, you will get a program for how to bake bread in a matter of seconds – automatically. Text to Software reads the language-based instructions and converts them into seven tables – states, activities, groups, elements, transitions, events, actions – or SAGETEA.
Gone are hours of coding and hundreds if not thousands of tables necessary to create programming. And it will work for more than just creating a bread program.
So what has SageTea Software done here?
SageTea has made computer programming accessible to any tech-savvy user who has the inclination to produce a program. And we mean anyone. Just recently we had a 14 year old in our office for “Bring Your Children to Work” day who by the end of the day had a working knowledge of Text to Software and is now building his own programs at home. This is how easy it is to use.
On an industry level, SageTea Software has proven Stephen Wolfram and many others right – it is possible to do natural language programming. And the nay-sayers will have to think again about its efficacy.
The only question left to answer is whether it is a 4GL – or a 5GL?
This software greenhorn thinks that there are some interesting conversations yet to come about the possibilities of Text to Software.